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Japan Atomic Says Study Shows Reactor Is Not on Active Fault

Japan Atomic Power Co., which has Tokyo Electric Power Co. as its largest shareholder, said in a report submitted to the country’s nuclear regulator today that its Tsuruga reactor isn’t on an active earthquake fault, contradicting the authority’s findings.

Japan Atomic said data in the report filed with Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority shows that three fault lines in the area, including one that runs under the No. 2 reactor at its Tsuruga plant, aren’t active because they haven’t moved in the past 120,000 to 130,000 years.

The NRA approved a report in May by a group of scientists led by Kunihiko Shimazaki, a commissioner with the agency, that concluded a fault running under the unit was active. NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said at the time that this violated safety regulations, while declining to assert that the ruling meant the regulator would deny safety clearance needed to restart the reactor in western Japan.

“The NRA said they will re-deliberate if there are new findings,” Japan Atomic President Yasuo Hamada said today at a press conference. “What we reported today is a new finding. We strongly urge the NRA to come to a new conclusion”

The NRA was determining how to review the data submitted by Japan Atomic, agency spokesman Shinpei Hamamoto said.

“We’re willing to review our previous assessment if we’re provided with data showing there has been no fault line activity over the past 120,000 to 130,000 years,” he said.

Restarting Reactors

Kansai Electric Power Co. and three other regional utilities have applied to the NRA for safety checks, a step toward restarting reactors idled after the Fukushima atomic disaster in March 2011.

All but two of Japan’s reactors are idled for safety assessments after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns and radiation leaks at Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. The NRA was set up after the disaster to independently review Japan’s nuclear power industry.

Japan Atomic would incur 256 billion yen ($2.59 billion) of losses and become insolvent if the company decommissions its two reactors at the Tsuruga plant and one at its Tokai Dai-Ni nuclear station, the trade and industry ministry estimated in June 2012.

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